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Exporting rights - return to sender

In Lacan’s formula of communication  the sender gets back from the recipient his own message in its inverted – i.e. true – form.  ie you give someone a present and what you get back is a disclourse of the real reason you gave the present.  A similar argument might be advanced in regard to 'rights' the 'rights of man'.

Jacques Rancière has proposed in an essay in the South Atlantic Quarterly that when 'rights' are of no use,
Wit ' rights' you do the same as charitable persons do with their old clothes. You give them to the poor.  
Those rights that appear to be useless in their place are sent abroad, along with medicine and clothes, to people deprived of medicine, clothes and rights. It is in this way . . . that the Rights of Man become the rights of those who have no rights, the rights of bare human beings subjected to inhuman repression and inhuman conditions of existence.

They become humanitarian rights, the rights of those who cannot enact them, the victims of the absolute denial of rights. For all this, they are not void. Political names and political places never become merely void. The void is filled by somebody or something else . . . if those who suffer inhuman repression are unable to enact the human rights that are their last recourse, then somebody else has to inherit their rights in order to enact them in their place. This is what is called the ‘right to humanitarian interference’ – a right that some nations assume to the supposed benefit of victimised populations, and very often against the advice of the humanitarian organisations themselves. The ‘right to humanitarian interference’ might be described as a sort of ‘return to sender’: the disused rights that had been sent to the rightless are sent back to the senders.

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